Signature Color Face-Off: 2004 v. 2007 Audi S4 Avants

Signature Color Face-Off: 2004 v. 2007 Audi S4 Avants

The S4 Avant is no stranger to these pages, offering enthusiasts a “have-your-cake-and-throw-it-squarely-at-that-M3-owner’s-face-too” package which combined functionality and sport in a very discrete wrapper. Well, for the most part they were discrete; most were ordered in shades of gray because a fair amount of people ponying up new were conservative with everything but the money they were paying for this small executive wagon. Lightly optioned, an S4 Avant was north of $50,000 in 2004, a price today that would having you knocking on the A7 and S6’s base price. That sticker shock masks that the B6 and B7 represented a huge price increase over the B5 generation; out the door, the cost on average about 20% – 30% more only 3 years later – but then, they offered a full 90 horsepower advantage over the twin-turbocharged V6 with that awesome 4.2 V8, which of course could still be combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Subtle though the exterior colors may be, the performance on tap was anything but.

But some enterprising individuals chose the vivid colors which had become the signature of the model in B5 form. Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect was, of course, the go-to for all things fast Audi since it was originally called RS Blue on the original super Avant RS2. But a nearly equal amount were requested in Imola Yellow, a staggering, retina-burning banana-toned shade that seems initially out of character with a family wagon, yet raises the cool-bus level to 11. Though Nogaro was replaced in the B7 chassis refresh with Sprint Blue Pearl Effect, Imola carried over for the end of the V8s.

Today, I have one of each – so which is your style?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

2004 Audi S4 Avant

2004 Audi S4 Avant

1I always thought of the B6 as the compact executive sedan for people a little too quirky to buy a 3-series or a C-class (a bit like a Saab). The handsome, turn-of-the-millennium design has aged well and continues to exude a note of well-heeled class even today. While humdrum four and six cylinder examples can be picked up very cheaply for everyday commuting duties, it’s the high-performance S4 version that really gets the pulse racing. Wearing some sporting exterior upgrades – door blades, redesigned bumpers, chromed wing mirror covers and, usually, 18″ Avus wheels – it remains a rather understated car in outward appearance. But squeezed under the hood is a thumping 4.2 liter V8, good for nearly 340 hp and 155 MPH on the Autobahn. Rev it hard and this thing pulls like a freight train. While the drawback of the B6 was always its questionable reliability and build quality, that motor, combined here with a six speed manual gearbox in a wagon bodystyle, might just be enough to make up for it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina B6 2.7

Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina B6 2.7

$65,000 for an E36?Bullsh*t!“, most of you are probably saying. That money should be reserved for true classics or brand new models. Heck, you can get a perfect condition, lightly used M4 for $65,000 even in a cool color. But anyone can walk down to a dealer and get a brand new car. You’re an enthusiast, which means you enjoy the purgatory of older car ownership. Few of your non-automobile related friends understand why you like old, smelly, slow, uncomfortable, often in need of repair hunks of metal and plastic. “It’s just a car”, they say. But it’s not just a car to you – it’s an identity, a feeling, a Joie de vivre those who don’t know will never have. It doesn’t matter that they don’t understand, because you understand. So you take that $65,000 that you could have spent on a brand new, ultra-flash and ultra-fast M4 but you don’t spend it on an ultra-obscure two decade-old E36, because they’re not worth that much – obviously. No, you instead spend it on a sure thing, a car that isn’t a flash in the pan, a recession-proof investment-grade BMW like….an E30?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina B6 2.7 on eBay

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

On paper, the Passat W8 4Motion Variant like the one I wrote up early in August was the enthusiast with a family’s dream; an understated, all-wheel drive eight cylinder wagon with BBS wheels, smart styling and a not-outrageous asking price. I mean, it wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t RS7 money. You could even get a manual. But it was complicated, and ultimately, it was still a $40,000 Passat. The W8, while silky smooth, also was a bit underwhelming in the power department. Out of 4 liters, despite all the engine trickery, it produced only 270 horsepower – only 20 more than its contemporary 2.7 V6 twin-turbo sibling S4/Allroad/A6s could. In many ways, while the model that replaced it seemed a bit more tame in the headline department, it’s actually the one to get:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant on eBay

Ultrasport Faceoff: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro v. 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

Ultrasport Faceoff: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro v. 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

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I see B6 platform A4s all the time in DC, often driven by young people in their mid to late twenties. I tend to assume that many of them are hand-me-downs from wealthy parents who live in the affluent suburbs. When equipped with all-wheel drive, these cars make for competent year-round daily drivers ideal for the mid-Atlantic climate, and they still give off that expensive, German vibe even though by now they are relatively inexpensive to buy. But while the overall design remains attractive, I think the standard models can look a bit plain. If, like me, you prefer the sportier looks of the S4, but don’t want to deal with the possibility of the $8k timing chain job that afflicts the 4.2 V8 motor, the next best thing is a regular A4 equipped with the Ultrasport package. Available as a factory option, this added S4-style door blades, revised front and rear bumpers, sports suspension and 18″ multispoke “celebration” RS4-style wheels. So equipped, the ordinary looking A4 is instantly transformed into a sportier, more aggressively styled car. The USP package was available on both sedan and wagon models, and for today’s post I’ve written up one of each.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro Ultrasport on Craigslist

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

When it comes to sporty wagons in the mid 2000s, your only options were really Audis and BMWs, right? Well, wrong – because Volkswagen dropped one pretty hot sleeper on our shores before elimination of the Passat wagon from the lineup. Granted, Volkswagen’s hottest entrant into the sport wagon market – the R36 – wouldn’t come here, but the normal 3.6 4Motion was darn close. With 280 horsepower on tap from the enlarged narrow-angle VR6 channeled through all four wheels, the unassuming Passat was the second most powerful wagon offered on these shores from VAG. Unless you spent another 50% to opt for the Audi S4 V8, this was as quick as U.S. bound German wagons got. Unlike the B5/5.5, the B6 chassis returned to the Golf-based platform, which was both a blessing and a curse. From a performance standpoint the change was a good one, as many of the items intended for the R32 model worked on the Passat now. However, the change to transverse engine placement from the inline Audi setup in the B5/5.5 meant that the “true” quattro drivetrain in the earlier 4Motions was replaced by the Haldex setup found in the R32 and Audi TT. Is this the end of the world? No, not really, and in fact because of this change you can opt to alter the power distribution with aftermarket control units. These 3.6 models were expensive and fully loaded, so they’re somewhat infrequently seen and generally unknown and unappreciated even in the German-specific realm:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 19 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 – REVISIT

Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 – REVISIT

Back on the market in a reserve auction, the neat to see but slightly questionable 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 from last fall is a great 80s reminder of styling trends. See the post below for some items that look a bit off or out of place. Bidding has been pretty slow and is just over $20,000 – some $12,500 short of the asking price in September. Will it see a new buyer this time around?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site September 15, 2015:

Wagons Ho! Super 5-door Roundup

Wagons Ho! Super 5-door Roundup

Perusing the classifieds for interesting wagons this week, I came across quite a few and thought it would be a good chance to look at some sporty 5-doors. To level the playing field slightly, all are automatics. While that may cause some of you to groan, they make up for a lack of manual with distinctive styling, plenty of power and rarity that will set you apart from the crowd. Which is the one you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 on Portland Craigslist

Ultrasport Version 3.0: 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant v. 2005 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant Ultrasport

Ultrasport Version 3.0: 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant v. 2005 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant Ultrasport

A few weeks ago in my “Avant-off” article, I asked if the premium for the Titanium Package S-Line cars was justified. But comparing a B6 to a B7 can be tough, since there are a fair amount of differences in styling and performance. To equal the playing field more, today I have two nearly identical cars. In this case, it’s a normal A4 3.0 quattro Avant 6-speed against a very similar Ultrasport model. Just like the Titanium package, the Ultrasport package was mostly for looks; you got the Sport Package 1BE suspension, 18″ “Celebration” RS4-style wheels with summer high performance tires, perforated leather 3-spoke steering wheel and shift knob, aluminum interior trim and a quattro GmbH body kit. It was a $3,000 option on top of your already pricey A4 in 2004 and 2005, and came in 1.8T or 3.0 V6 configurations in either sedan or Avant. They’re relatively hard to find, so let’s look at the theoretical premium the package commands today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant on Worcester Craigslist

Avant Time: 2004 A4 1.8T quattro Avant v. 2008 A4 2.0T quattro Avant S-Line Titanium

Avant Time: 2004 A4 1.8T quattro Avant v. 2008 A4 2.0T quattro Avant S-Line Titanium

The Audi A4 Avant needs no introduction on these pages; an enthusiast favorite especially for those with families, the small wagon is a sharp looking, sporty package with plenty of practicality. Though not as numerous as the European market, there are plenty of configurations older models could be specified in too – from torquey and smooth 2.8 through 3.2 V6 models, to the whoosh-wonderful turbocharged 1.8T and 2.0T variants, there was also always the monster V6 twin turbo or V8 S4. Today we’re looking at two of the smallest engines, but that doesn’t make them less desirable. Indeed, for some Avant enthusiasts, the second of this duo – the S-Line Titanium package – might just be the best overall package Audi offered here. How does it compare to its father?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant on Hartford Craigslist

2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport

2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport

As with the BMW E46 ZHP package, Audi introduced the “Ultrasport” package in the 2004 B6 chassis. Effectively, this was as close to an S4 as you could get without actually buying a S4. You had to select the Sport Package to upgrade to the Ultrasport obviously, so the 1BE suspension upgrades, sway and stress bars carried over. However, the Ultrasport package upped the ante with 18″ quattro GmbH “Celebration” RS4 style wheels, front and rear bumpers also designed by quattro GmbH, door blades borrowed from the S4, a special perforated leather 3-spoke steering wheel and aluminum interior trim. While for many the more desirable package is the Avant – and that’s what we usually feature, the Ultrasport was also available in sedan form in either 3.0 V6 or 1.8T configuration:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport on Providence Craigslist

Noggy-off – 2001.5 v 2004 Audi S4 Avant

Noggy-off – 2001.5 v 2004 Audi S4 Avant

Audi established a new bar for fast wagons with the RS2 Avant, and the signature color of that model was termed “RS Blue”. Immediately, the vibrant hue was recognizable as the warning sign to other drivers that more lurked under the hood than most normal grocery getters. Audi would continue this trend and signature color with the new quattro GmbH-made S6 Plus a few years later. But in 2001, Audi made the exclusive color a bit more pedestrian by offering it on the B5 S4. Now termed “Nogaro Blue Pearl”, it developed an immediate fan following since then – as now – for most, purchasing either a RS2 or S6 Plus isn’t in the cards. Audi continued the shade on to the B6 platform, where it continued to be the defacto shade of speed until it was discontinued in the B7 chassis. While Audi has recently brought the color back into its lineup, for many the older cars still have a distinctive draw and Nogaro cars typically demand a premium. For some, that premium is heightened even more when the interior was opted with the Nogaro colored Alcantara. Add in Avant and 6-speed to the option list on these cars, and the collective Audi fanboy community draws a sharp breath as lips are bitten and pants decidedly tighten. As a treat, we have two examples to consider – which is more Nogtastic?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001.5 Audi S4 Avant on Washington DC Craigslist

Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8

Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8

Vuarnet shirt, stone-washed high-wasted jeans, neon Wayfarers, legwarmers, Wham!‘s “Make It Big” album playing on your Walkman, a tennis lesson scheduled for later in the day with someone named Chad, Tad or Chaz, and a BMW 3-series; they’re immediately identifiable as a product of the 1980s, even if in this case they were made in the late 1970s. Take a moment to consider the seats in this Alpina; made by Recaro, they’d look as at home on Bill Cosby’s back as he lectured Theo as they would on the race track. But just as those trends from the 80s have been revisited by the “Hipsters” of today, there’s another class I’ve dubbed “Yupsters”, wishing to relive the glory of Wall Street and every club from the Breakfast to the Country. They’re interested in the BMW 3 series, and the major resurgence of the small executive sedan has become ironic in its own right, from the “Respect Your Elders” stickers plastered on cars not much older than the creatures driving them (who, even more ironically, typically don’t know much about history), to the hypocrisy of everyone being different by all owning E30s. The only things missing from the entirely predictable plotline are a Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack and a cameo at the local show by Steve Guttenberg. To me, the 3 series that comes out of all of this smelling like roses is the E21; relatively forgotten and overlooked due to less availability, sport and cliche, a turned up E21 is nonetheless a beautiful thing when properly done:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

10K Friday Colorful Carriers: Vibrant Wagon-off

10K Friday Colorful Carriers: Vibrant Wagon-off

Did someone say fast 5-doors? Amen! The bells on the Church of the Heavenly 5 Doors are ringing this Friday, and I’ve rounded up a unique quartet of very fast and very colorful wagons to consider, each around or below $10,000. We’ve got 5 turbos, 25 cylinders and 1,200 horsepower worth of people carriers here – which is the winner for you?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S4 Avant on Denver Craigslist

2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport

2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport

Here at GCFSB, there’s a running joke that ties in with the Saturday Night Live “Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult” skit featuring Christopher Walken. We’ve just gotta have more wagon around here, and I’m happy to oblige. Today’s oblation to the GCFSB Church of the Heavenly 5 Doors is an interesting blip on Audi’s Avant radar; the short-lived B6 Ultrasport package. Available in either 3.0 V6 or 1.8T configuration, the Ultrasport was introduced in 2004.5. It took the normal Sport Package A4 with either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed Tiptronic transmission in either sedan or Avant form and added the S4 door blades, a European rear bumper and a quattro GmbH designed front bumper cover. RS4 “Celebration” wheels were added, bumping the rolling stock from the standard Sport 17″ to 18″. Those wheels lay under the lowered fenderline, suspended by the 1BE sport suspension that was 20mm lower than standard and 30% stiffer. The package also included a stiffer 18mm rear sway bar and an upper stress bar in the engine bay, which held a standard version of each of the motors (220 horsepower with the 3.0 V6 or 170 horsepower in the 1.8T). Inside, the 2005 Ultrasport gained a 3-spoke S-line steering wheel and the only interior color offered was ebony, accented with perforated leather shift knob and aluminum trim. It was as close to a S4 Avant as you could get without actually opting for the V8:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport on Boston Craigslist